Thursday, May 03, 2007

Getting Kids to Help Around the House

     People are asking how to get kids to help around the house. The draw to computers, TVs and the like are distancing families more and more and it breaks my heart. Personally I'll be glad when 2009 comes along with the forced digital TV. I refuse to buy one or the converter box. The TV goes off and good riddance. I've been listening to the radio for most of my news and will continue to do so. The vulgarity, violence and degrading way programs treat women needs to stop. Nor do I put it past these digital TVs to have added circuits that will track our phone calls etc. I don't trust them and won't have it in my home.

     Oops I got off on my soap box again. Let's get back to these chores. First of all children, young children in particular are like baby ducks: lead, they follow. You can't expect them to pick up their room, set the table or help with dinner when the house is cluttered, needs a good cleaning and dinner is always late because of distractions.

 Start them young and praise them often   

   Step one is to start young - very young. Even a one year old can put their toys away. And insist they do just that. They are not allowed another toy until the one they are playing with is back in its proper place. Yes you will need to show them how several times and help them but doing these things together can be a lot of fun. Make it a special time. Don't do it for them just because you are tired and don't want to wait for them. Your being tired is not their fault. They are slow and will also follow your wonderful example of patience.

     Next remember young children won't do things up to your expectations. A one year old will miss the toy box and a two year old won't get things in there neatly. By age four they can be shown how to do a neat job. In the meantime encourage them. Words like "Wow Gracie, how did you do that? You got the teddy bear in the box – way to go." It doesn't matter if it was the right box, praise her for her efforts.

   Criticism is the key to killing the joy of helping 

     This is the single most important thing to remember through their growing years. Kids of all ages will soon stop helping if they are criticized at every attempt. Praise them and give them tons of hugs and personal time with you and not a financial or material gain. Keep the allowance out of it. Yes a lot of people will object to this but allowance should not be a part of chores. There are exceptions if they need to earn money to pay for fees for school or clubs etc. Those should be extra chores after their primary chores are finished.

     So what happens if the child does not do his chores? Well you must do them for her. That means you don't have time to take her to ball practice or whatever and if she doesn't have time for chores she certainly doesn't have time to watch TV etc. Stick to your commitment on this one. It's difficult when they do have practice and must be there. They don't go until the chores are finished. If the activity is right after school, the TV, computer IPod whatever stays off until homework and chores are finished. No exceptions. Giving in even once means you have lost face and will be pushed to the limit from there out. Yes I found out the hard way.

Start Young  

    The time to start with children is when they are very young. Even two year olds can clear their plates and take them to the kitchen. Saying something like, "Julie, I'm taking my plate to the kitchen bring yours and we'll rinse it off." Kids love to play in water so have them pull a chair or stool up to the sink and rinse off the dishes.

     Next, set up a chore chart. You and your child can choose chores that are age appropriate and they can set their chores each day. Then set one for you as well. Remember kids learn by example. So put up your own chore chart and each of you mark off each day when yours are done. And perhaps Mom or Dad's treat for getting their chore done is a 5 minute quiet time – no interrupting or a soak in the tub. Learning to respect your quiet time will teach them respect.

     Each evening before your child goes to bed, his room is to be picked up and his chore done.  

This article may only be reprinted giving full credit to Mary Findley and her website at Copyright @2007 All rights reserved worldwide.

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